Socratic Seminar for The Lottery: Discussion Questions

Topics: Question, The Lottery, Short story Pages: 3 (603 words) Published: October 14, 2013
Mrs. Gonyo – room G3
AP Literature – Socratic seminar for “The Lottery”
Discussion questions
Comments to move the conversation along:
a. What question are we trying to answer? Why?
b. Could you give me an example or a metaphor to explain that? c. Can you find that in the text? Where does the reading support you? d. What are you assuming in that argument?
e. But what about...? (That seems at odds with what we said before, what the author said here, etc.)
f. How does this relate to... (what was said before, read last week, etc.) g. Do we need to modify or rephrase the question (or answer) we are working on? h. What do you mean by _____ (key words)?

i. I think we are lost. Could someone tell me where we are, where we are going, help me find some "landmarks"?
j. (To a quiet but clearly engaged member:) Bob, what do you think? (Or) Is there someone who hasn't yet spoken who might have something to say at this point?

Questions for discussion:
1.Were you surprised by the ending of the story? If not, at what point did you know what was going to happen? How does Jackson
foreshadow the ending? Conversely, how does Jackson lull us into thinking that this is just an ordinary story with an ordinary town? 2. In what way does the setting affect the story? Does it make you more or less likely to anticipate the ending?

3. In what ways are the characters differentiated from one another? Looking back at the story, can you see why Tessie Hutchinson is singled out as a "winner"?
4. A scapegoat, in the ritual of purification described in the old testament, was an actual goat that was released into the wilderness after having been ceremoniously heaped with the “inequities” of the people (Leviticus 16:22). What traces of such a ritual are suggested in “the lottery? Can you think of any other kinds of rituals that are retained today even though their purpose is now remote or


5. Jackson gives interesting names to a number of her characters. Can you...
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